Don’t forget to vote on 22 May

Voter registration instructions – special form for non-UK EU citizens

On May 22 there will be a UK-wide election for the European Parliament and also local council elections for London boroughs.

If you want to vote, please make sure you are registered on the Electoral Register. If you are, you should by now have received a voting card. If you haven’t had one, phone the Electoral Registration Service at your local council to check. You need to do this well before the deadline, May 6.

If you are resident in Britain but have a passport from another EU country, there is a second thing you have to do to be able to vote in the European Parliament elections on May 22. It may not be widely known that Polish, French, German, Spanish , Italian, Austrian etc. people need an extra form to vote in the European election, on which they promise to vote ONLY in the UK and not in their passport country.

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Roj Women presents ‘The Kurdish Women’s Movements’ seminar on 7 March

SOAS Kurdish Society and Roj Women present “The Kurdish Women’s Movements and gender discrimination in the global world” seminar, followed by a Kurdish music performance (Ayşegül & Band) on Friday 7 March at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Khalili Lecture Theatre. Free entry!

Kurdish Women's Movements Seminar poster_March 2014

With speakers Dilar Dirik and Radha D’Souza.

Dilar Dirik received a Bachelors degree from the University in Jamestown (USA) in History and Political Science, with a minor in Philosophy, and a Masters in International Studies from Durham University. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department of the University of Cambridge. Her topic of research is the role of women in the Kurdish liberation movement. Apart from being an academic, she is a regular columnist for English and German publications. She volunteers for and cooperates with different Kurdish NGOs, especially women’s organizations in Europe.

Radha D’Souza teaches Law at the University of Westminster in London. Her research interests include global and social justice, social movements, Law & Development, colonialism and imperialism, social theory, socio and water conflicts. She is author of ‘Interstate Conflicts over Krishna Waters: Law, Science and Imperialism’. She convenes the Development & Conflict group in the School of Law, University of Westminster. Radha is a social justice activist, free lance writer and she has practiced as barrister at the High Court of Mumbai in India. She is a long time active member of the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights in the state of Maharashtra in India and founder member of the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers.

Roj Women joins conference on Jineology

Cologne, Germany. 28 February – 2 March 2014

A conference to question and deconstruct the ruling sciences and their patriarchal and capitalist structures and to create, share, and discuss alternative, future-oriented concepts of women’s studies and alternative ways of thinking and living.

For those who can’t attend the event, you will be able to follow it on the livestream page of the conference’s blog.

The conference cover five main themes:

1. Distorted History – Distortion of Identities

2. Epistemology of Science – The Construction of a Science that Excludes Women from Life

3. Feminism – The Rebellion of the Earliest Colony

4. Jineology: – The Re-Construction of the Sciences Towards a Communal and Free Life

5. Experiences of Women’s Movements

Besides speeches and discussions, the program will also contain cultural activities.

Jineology conference_March 2014

Reception at Parliament to celebrate Newroz

Roj Women, working in association with the Kurdistan National Congress, the Kurdish Community Centre, Halkevi, and the United Communities For Labour, invites you to a reception in the British Houses of Parliament to celebrate Newroz, the Kurdish New Year festival. 

The reception will take place in MacMillan Room, Portcullis House of Westminster on Thursday 20th March between 6.00pm and 8.00pm and will be hosted by Paul Maskey MP, Sinn Fein. Food and drinks will be provided and there will also be an opportunity to enjoy traditional Kurdish music and dance.

Newroz is an ancient annual festival celebrated during the spring equinox on March 21st. The festival symbolises the triumph of light over darkness, the celebration of new life and freedom from oppression. The origins of Newroz date back 5000 years. Due to cultural oppression after the division of Kurdistan, Newroz has not been openly celebrated by the Kurds until very recently. Throughout Kurdistan, millions of people gather each year to enjoy music, food, dance, and the opportunity to celebrate Kurdish cultural traditions. In London, the traditions of Newroz are kept alive by the large Kurdish community who organise a variety of events across London. Each year, these events provide a wonderful opportunity for Kurdish families and others to come together and celebrate the rich culture and heritage of the Kurds, in the city that has offered many people a refuge from the political and cultural repression they faced in Turkey.

This year, the Newroz events take place in the shadow of the peace process initiated by Kurdish leader A. Ocalan on 21st March 2013 and the upcoming local elections which will take place on 30th March 2014. Disappointed by Geneva II, Syrian Kurds have also declared “transitional democratic autonomy” (self-rule) in all Kurdish regions in Syria (Rojava). Thus, it is a very significant and exciting period for the Kurds. With this background in mind, the Kurdish community sees Newroz as an opportunity to renew the spirit of optimism about the future and we therefore hope that you will be able to join us for the reception which will mark the formal launch of this year’s celebrations.

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Outrage as Kurds held up for hours at Dover crossing

Statement by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, Roj Women & Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)

Kurdish families bound for Paris protest on anniversary of killings were stopped and searched under Schedule 7 of Terrorism Act 2000

We were deeply shocked to learn that Kurdish families, including mothers with children and elderly people, travelling by coach from London to Paris, were stopped at Dover by police and held for over seven hours without any evidence of wrongdoing or illegal activities on their part. The Kurds were journeying in one of three coaches having departed from Haringey on Friday evening 10th January to attend a demonstration in Paris on the following Saturday afternoon to mark the anniversary of the murders of three Kurdish women  – Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Saylemez – in the French capital a year earlier. The Kurds believe that these three women were victims of state terrorism and that the real culprits are being sheltered by the authorities in Turkey.

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BDP boasts highest number of women candidates in Turkey

Local elections are to be held soon in Turkey. The Kurdish movement has shown its determination to get more women to participate in the public sphere by presenting more women candidates than any other party.

Source: Firat News 

A recent record of political parties running for the local elections to be held in Turkey on 30 March has once more confirmed that the party which the highest record in terms of number of women candidates and participation of women is the pro-Kurdish BDP (Peace and Democracy Party).

In contrast, the ruling AK Party has only one woman candidate out of 81 mayor candidates, or 1.2% of the candidates (not all candidates have yet been presented though). For its part, the opposition party, CHP, has 31 women candidates out of 745 mayor candidates (4.1%), whereas the opposition nationalist party, the MHP, has 12 women candidates out of 1064 mayor candidates (1.1%).

BDP has presented 32 women candidates out of 182 mayor candidates (17.5%).

Figures for the HDP (Democratic People Party) were not available as the party only presented its candidates on Friday. The women contigent is quite high, though, in line with the BDP policy.

Today Roj Women pays tribute to the memory of Sakine, Fidan and Leyla

On 9 January 2013 an atrocious crime was committed in the center of Paris. It deeply shook all Kurdish women’s organization and the Kurdish people, as well as international women’s and human rights organizations.

Three Kurdish women, politicans and fighters for freedom and women’s liberation – Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Saylemez – were brutally murdered.

This cruel crime concerns all people fighting for freedom, justice, women’s rights and democracy. Women, peoples and progressive political forces from all over the world are still calling for an immediate clarification where assassin haven’t yet been brought to justice.

Final resolution of 10th Conference on ‘EU, Turkey and the Kurds’ published

Roj Women supports the final resolution and recommendations produced by the 10th International Conference on ‘The EU, Turkey and the Kurds’ held at the European Parliament on 4 and 5 December, 2013.

 Turkey, the Kurds and the Imrali Peace Process: A Historic Opportunity

 FINAL RESOLUTION

 Introduction

The 10th EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) conference, on EU, Turkey and the Kurds, held December 2013, under the theme ‘Turkey, the Kurds and the Imrali Peace Process: A Historical Opportunity’ was attended by EU parliamentarians, civil society activists, journalists, academics and politicians from across Turkey, Europe, America and the Middle East. The conference provided for rich discussions regarding the Kurdish question in Turkey. In particular it discussed the peace process undertaken by Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the leader of the PKK, Mr. Abdullah Ocalan. Participating organisations and individuals expressed support for a political solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey and put forward recommendations.

The conference believes that Turkey’s accession into the European Union will increase the possibility for a peaceful permanent solution and that such a peaceful solution can only be achieved through dialogue between the parties. However the conference notes that the current peace process is hurtling towards an impasse. The conference hopes that this impasse is overcome soon and that the peace process will be revitalised recognising that the peace is a necessary condition for negotiations and for the deepening of democracy for the peoples of Turkey.

The 10th annual EUTCC Conference resolves as follows;

With regard to The Peace and Negotiation Process

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